Ways With Words
Complex Topics in Simple Language!

Mind your own business!

If you are considering getting your completed typescript translated into other languages . . . Don't do it!

Books are translated only after they're in print. Organising and paying for translation is the publisher's respon­sibility — and it's none of your business unless you are determined to waste money.

Literary translation is a highly specialised field requiring language skills that are frequently beyond the scope of your average bread-and-butter translator.

In addition publishers, or agencies handling literary trans­lations for publishers, go to great lengths to ensure that particular translators are matched with specific novels based on their skills and experience.

Any trans­lation agency that takes money from an author (as opposed to taking it from the publisher) is either ignorant or unscrupulous. This is the advice always given to writers by our sister company, Words Language Services (WLS).

Before leaving this subject, it's worth ment­ion­ing auto­mat­ed translation. Vendors of translation software — and those touting such services online — would have us all believe that computers can replace human linguists.

This is simply not true. No computer program can handle the complex subtelties of language — not to mention the required cultural awareness that only a person can achieve.

Certainly, professional translators use software, but only as a way of speeding up their work. They still need their linguistic and translator's skills to sort out the computer's foul-ups in a process known as post editing.

The best computer translation can do is provide the gist of a text. While this may suffice for a letter from a distant pen pal, it falls very far short of the standards required for getting an acceptable translation of a book.

You can see this very easily by using any free online trans­lator. Simply copy the first chapter of your typescript and paste it into the browser translation window. Translate it into German. So far, so good.

Next, use the same online facility (or another) to translate the German text back into English. Now compare the auto­mat­ed German-to-English translation with your original English text. Scarey, huh!

For more about getting published, click a relevant link below.

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♦  Format Conversion
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♦  Translation
♦  Typescript Layout
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